Wednesday, October 12, 2011


It's been interesting trying to balance my new working situation with life at home, trying to pack up an apartment, helping to renovate the house we're moving in to, and studying for my chef certification - all simultaneously. My text book came in yesterday ... a whole 3 inches thick. It gave me goosebumps. Mark and our friend (my sister from another mister), Nicole, have been helping me devise marketing tools like business cards and postcards for my future endeavors. She had me buy the URL for my future business at 1am the other day while she was visiting. A few drinks at the bar, some lofty conversation about our futures and *poof!* I was paying GoDaddy for the pleasure of a name.

This whole experience is teaching me about balance. What things in my life hold precedent? What needs to get done NOW? What can wait a few days? Balance is a fine skill that I am weakly trying to master. It's balance that will let me have a family and a career at the same time. And balance is what will help me be a better chef.

Mirepoix is the term for the "holy grail" of French cooking. Carrots, celery and onions. It seems so simple end yet it is the balance of the flavors in these three ingredients that gives layered flavors to stock, soups, stews, roasts. If you do not have these items in your kitchen, I ask that you consider stocking them on the regular. There is little that can replace them. Garlic should also be included in this equation, but it isn't necessarily called for in all recipes. As a garlic grower I'm quite fond of the stuff. I put it into everything I can.

photo courtesy of Wikipedia

I'm finding that just as in life, the best food has balance and harmony. None of this, however, is achieved instantly. A balanced diet and menu is what keeps our bodies (and our minds) healthy and vibrant. When our diet is out of balance everything else could follow suit. Nature has great ways of reminding us how harmony can be achieved by utilizing our own skills and the resources around us. I like to think of the "three sisters" concept of gardening as an example of this ...

Corn. Beans. Squash. These three vegetables provide all of the nutrition and energy a human being needs. When grown together, they produce an alliance that helps them with pest and disease resistance as well as appropriate room to grow. Native Americans have grown these three "sisters" together for hundreds- thousands- of years. Besides helping each other, the plants aid in healthy soil maintenance. The bean plants climb the corn, making them sturdier in times of harsh weather. Beans also provide nitrogen (which is why they're just a fantastic plant to use at all times ... legumes are powerful nitrogen fixers). Squash grows low and spreads out, creating a healthy weed barrier that allows all three to grow freely without competition. Squash also discourages larger pests from invading your garden and ransacking that lanky corn.

Nature is full of these examples. There is no "silver bullet" when it comes to our diets, or our lives. There is no magic berry in the rainforest that will make us instantly thin. There is no supplement that will solve our aches and pains by itself.  Success is never achieved alone. Greatness is accomplished when we recognize our strengths and the strengths of others- and when we use these to elevate those around us, as well as ourselves. Community brings about health and wellness when we utilize it the way we should.

There is still so much more to learn, so much more to do ... and I couldn't do it without the help and support I've received from family and friends. This is a beautiful life and the future is bright.

I know folks have had some trouble leaving comments on this blog. I'll run a few tests to see what's going on ... Please don't give up on trying to add your two cents- I would love to hear from all of you!

Be well, love much, dream big!

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